Dorset Chamber means business at global conference

Business leaders flew the flag for Dorset at an influential conference with top politicians in London.

A delegation from Dorset Chamber attended the British Chambers of Commerce’s (BCC) global annual conference at Westminster.

They included chief executive Ian Girling, former president and BCC board member Liz Willingham, ambassador Chris Kane of Platinum Business Partner Greendale Construction and James Tourgout from Platinum Business Partner Deep South Media.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt MP, Labour leader Keir Starmer MP and Governor of the Bank of England Andrew Bailey were among the keynote speakers at the event at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre.

Ian said: “This conference was a show of strength by the business community as it continues to face some tough times.

“It was encouraging to hear tales of resilience and success from around the UK and the world to mirror the fortitude, entrepreneurial spirit and mutual support that we have seen in Dorset.

“The keynote speakers were compelling and, although they offered glimmers of hope, it was clear that there are more hard yards to cover during the remainder of 2023.”

Ian added: “Attracting speakers of the calibre of the Jeremy Hunt, Andrew Bailey and Sir Keir Starmer demonstrates just how influential the BCC and chamber network is within the corridors of power.

“As the voice of business in Dorset, and the county’s leading business support organisation, we will continue to work with our counterparts nationwide to champion business and ensure that our concerns are addressed at the highest level.”

The BCC conference had the theme of Building British Business. It also featured speeches from BCC president and tech trailblazer Martha Lane Fox and director general Shevaun Haviland, who urged the government to reconnect with business and put it at the heart of economic growth plans.

Mr Hunt told the conference the office should be the ‘default’ location for workers unless there is a good reason to work from home.

Mr Bailey defended the Bank of England’s monetary policy amid persistent high inflation and failed to rule out any further interest rate rises amid a renewed commitment to hits its 2% inflation target.

Dorset is the only chamber accredited to the BCC in the county.

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